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Minister Shannon C. High Appointed Chaplain of Operations and Engagement at Sunstone Chapel and Interfaith Multicultural Community Ministries



Silver Spring, MD (June 19, 2024) - Sunstone Chapel and Interfaith Multicultural Community Ministries are very excited to announce Shannon C. High, MDiv, M.A.S.T., CSSC as our new Chaplain of Operations and Engagement. In this equally “yoked” position, she will lead special programs and initiatives through spiritual leadership, communications, staff writing, and program operations. This role focuses on implementation and partnering with the Managing Director & Lay Community Minister on broad initiatives while supporting operations and engagement across both organizations.  


“Bringing on a Chaplain of Operations and Engagement has been my wish for a long time,” said Ebony C. Peace, a lay community minister who serves as Managing Director at both Sunstone Chapel and IMCM. “Expanding our team is necessary to meet the growing needs of small congregations who are ready to thrive in this changing religious landscape. We know membership in our congregations is declining. We also know the world is becoming increasingly eager for connection and community. Just this past year, the U.S. Surgeon General released an advisory report on “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation” and the healing effects of social connection and community. From my perspective, this is an indicator that there’s plenty of room for faith communities to thrive by prioritizing connection and community. This requires releasing thought-patterns and habits about what it means to be a faith community that hinder our ability to flourish in our modern environment. This is a time for new ways of being and innovative exploration. This hire and those to come will give us the leadership we need to serve small congregations eager to try something new so that they can achieve their missions with more ease and less stress.”


Minister Shannon C. High embodies a unique blend of theological insight, artistic expression, and social activism, making her a transformative presence in the communities she serves. Her journey is marked by a profound commitment to faith, social transformation, and the creation of inclusive and meaningful worship experiences.


A graduate of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, she earned a Master of Divinity, a Master of Arts in Social Transformation, and a Certificate in Spirituality and Social Change. Her dedication to community building and advocacy for marginalized groups was recognized with the prestigious Koinonia Community Building Award. This honor highlights her outstanding work with the deaf community, unhoused populations, and individuals fighting for quality mental health care. Minister High's advocacy efforts demonstrate her unwavering commitment to inclusivity and equity.  


Shannon is a member of Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries and currently serves as Coordinator of Multicultural Engagement at First Unitarian Universalist Church Columbus. She resides in North Carolina and engages in a broad spectrum of spiritual and social justice work while fostering inclusive communities that celebrate diversity. 


“I am thrilled to contribute to Sunstone Chapel and IMCM's transformative journey toward championing radical care and visionary leadership within our interfaith and justice advocate communities,” said Minister Shannon High.


Shannon will serve on the leadership team of Sunstone Chapel’s newest initiative, “Thrive UU Fellowship”, a deliberately designed program for very small congregations with fewer than 100 members who do not have a full-time Minister. Thrive UU Fellowship leverages technology, innovation, and creativity to systematically engage small congregations in a covenant of interdependence. It mitigates isolation and removes many of the fundamental barriers very small congregations face such as sustainability and growth. This will be accomplished through reducing volunteer burnout and other ‘heavy lifting’ by providing supplemental high-quality infrastructure for consistent worship services, adult faith engagement, pastoral care, community building, and faith-based organization development.


Shannon will also take the lead on Interfaith Multicultural Community Ministries’ "How To Community Ministry" Continuing Education Podcast. This educational podcast is a key offering of IMCM where lay and ordained spiritual leaders, social justice activists, and faith-based practitioners elders deepen their leadership and community ministry skills.


Some of our upcoming summer and fall podcast guests include Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley, Rev. Angeline Jackson, Rev. Alex de Silva Souto, and social justice advocate Lucina Lopez P. with our inaugural guest being James Clarke, a Unitarian Universalist Chaplain who provides spiritual care and other support at various music festivals. Join IMCM with a free subscription to get notified of the dates when they’re released.


“We’ve all heard the news that a growing number of people around the world are disillusioned with organized religion,” said Ebony C. Peace. “However, we believe that just as a Unitarian Universalist is often uniquely suited to serve as Chaplains due to our inherent values and interfaith leanings, so too are we as a faith tradition uniquely suited to be the thriving outlier in the sea of faith communities who are struggling.  We can and should be thriving. We believe it requires doing some things differently than we currently are and doing so, together. We are excited to have Shannon’s leadership to help us build the capacity we need to journey with our smallest and mightiest congregations on this path of learning and growth as a community of communities.”


Minister Shannon C. High began as Chaplain of Operations and Engagement on May 27th 2024.




 

Who We Are:


Sunstone Chapel is a community ministry that enriches progressive communities so their members can flourish. Sunstone Chapel offers guest preaching, residencies for communities whose faith leaders are on vacation or sabbatical, adult faith development classes, and inclusive sexual harassment prevention training that meets compliance criteria in all states. Sunstone Chapel is expanding its offerings to Unitarian Universalist communities through Thrive UU Fellowship, an Innovative, deliberately designed program for congregations with fewer than 100 members who do not have a full-time Minister. Join our email list for the latest updates: https://tinyurl.com/yw9sewv4


Interfaith Multicultural Community Ministries (IMCM) is a diverse community of lay and ordained spiritual leaders, social justice activists, and faith-based practitioners. IMCM advances an inclusive, anti-racist and progressive perspective of diverse multicultural community ministry.


Launched in 2023, the Mission is to inspire and affirm people of faith who serve outside the boundaries of traditional sacred spaces by championing professional development and creating space for interfaith collaboration.


IMCM envisions an interfaith and interspiritual community rooted in inclusion that honors the legacy of community ministry. We facilitate thought-leadership for practical application. IMCM believes when ministries thrive, communities thrive. IMCM hosts an educational podcast, networking happy hours, and a marketing ministry mastermind where faith-based practitioners can learn to grow their ministries while increasing their income. Learn more at https://www.im-cm.org/


MEDIA CONTACT: helpdeskimcm@gmail.com

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